Having endured the discomfort of a ten-abreast 777 on the outbound flight from Hong Kong to Boston, I was pleased that the flight back was in a nine-abreast configuration. Cathay’s East Coast American flights are the longest in its network, so comfort matters.
At the Airport
I had to get to the airport from rural Massachusetts and as the bus service was very sporadic. To be comfortable about making the flight I opted for an early bus and wasn’t sure if the Cathay checkin desk would be open when I arrived at Logan airport. So I checked in online and printed out the boarding pass ahead of time.
At the airport, the security took a few minutes and it was then a short walk to the lounge Cathay uses, which is the British Airways lounge. The staff were unsure about whether to let me in as it was prior to ten p.m. They did, but there is some rule about which Cathay passengers or One World elite members can enter before ten and which can enter only after ten. That matters because there is a good food spread – and loads of BA passengers – before ten, but after that the hot food options are largely removed. There is a branch of Legal Seafood close to the lounge, so it’s not as if there are not good eating options.
The gate was very close to the lounge although not entered directly from it, which seemed to be the case for a BA flight.
The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. The seats were decently comfortable, with a pillow, blanket and headphones there on boarding. Cathay’s inflight entertainment section remains strong.
The economy class cabin was full. We headed up over the eastern seaboard, with a fair bit of turbulence over Canada, before taking the polar route down over Russia and China into a squally Hong Kong.
The timings of this flight work pretty well if you want to have supper in Boston, or work late, and arrive in Hong Kong in good time for a working day. But I find it a bit of a struggle, leaving at close to two in the morning and arriving before dawn. The flight was in fact early so we arrived at around five o’clock, early enough that buses hadn’t even yet started to Tung Chung from the airport and night buses were still pulling in from town.
The cabin crew was one of the most disinterested I have had on Cathay, not highly visible outside of the meal service and fairly robotic in style. Over the past several years I have noticed that the general level of enthusiasm amongst Cathay cabin crew seems to have been falling and this was noticeable on this flight.
The first meal service was shortly after takeoff, which makes sense as people want to get to sleep. There was then a long wait until the second meal, a couple of hours before landing. Still, that is better than some of Cathay’s east coast services where one is woken up halfway through the flight with a second meal and then given nothing else for the next seven or eight hours.
Food and Drink
The menu was as follows.
I had the barbecue beef, which was alright but nothing special.
For breakfast I had the western breakfast which was pretty tasty.
This is a long flight, and the late departure meant that it left me feeling pretty tired.